Time sure flies when you’re having fun and by now we are already near the half-way point of the spring turkey hunting season in New York.
The season runs from May 1 to 31, with hunting hours being one half-hour before sunrise until noon.
My turkey season began during the youth turkey hunting weekend in late April when I spent two chilly mornings in a blind with a young huntress.
Both mornings, we observed a flock of 16 birds that had a half dozen nice gobblers among them.
But. as hard as I tried to pull one of those toms away, they just weren’t buying my calling or our decoy set up.
I took the day off on May 1 to hunt opening day.
I love the early part of the turkey season when the weather is typically cooler — no bugs — and you can hear turkeys at an extended distance, and they can hear you.
I wound up doing battle with a nice tom that just wouldn’t present a shot.
I was in one of my main deer hunting spots in the Adirondack foothills and lured him off a ridge.
Over the course of more than two hours, he did a half-circle around me, always keeping his distance and mostly staying in the brush.
When he crossed a log road 100 yards below me, he literally ran across it, as if not to be in the open.
At one time he was about 50 yards from me, but I’d only see his head when he gobbled. I’ll never win a turkey calling contest, and just couldn’t get this bird to come in another 10 or 15 yards where I could get a shot at him.
Last weekend I was back at it in a remote, mountain location, but when I got there, I found that not only were there trees down courtesy of the May 4 windstorm that ripped through eastern New York, there were also power lines down.
Rather then hunting, I opted to check on the buildings as the property belongs to a long-time family friend.
So, some time was spent making sure things were OK, and fortunately, other than a power outage, they were.
I’m lucky to work a four-day week at my full-time job and, for the third straight day, last Monday found me watching the sun come up with my back against a big pine tree.
Although I called in a hen, the morning was uneventful and after doing some run-and-gun style hunting of wandering and calling over a couple of ridge tops, I changed locations to a big swampy area nearby.
‘TURNING MY BACK’
I got there about 10:15 am and let out a couple of yelps on my box call.
About 20 minutes later, I heard a gobble. I did not answer right away.
I felt I over-called to the opening-day tom, even though experience has taught me to let them late-morning birds come looking for you.
When some time passed and I did not hear or see anything, I turned to my crow call, and that triggered a gobble.
For the next half-hour I waited patiently but made the mistake of turning my back on the jake decoy I’d put in the trail; expecting the bird to come from the direction of the gobble.
Sure enough, about 11:15, I heard the unmistakable “putt” of an alarmed turkey. I slowly turned around and saw a jake nearly on top of my decoy, but obviously nervous. There were actually three jakes and I was able to turn and get into position for a shot.
When the opportunity came, I took it.
As much as I like to beat an old tom at the turkey hunting game, I’m usually not picky about filling my first tag and have done so on several jakes over the years.
You see, I like nothing more than fresh wild turkey breasts on the grill and young turkey is just about as good as it gets.
Not to mention how hard I worked to get this bird.